St. Elizabeth

By Aracelis Girmay Aracelis Girmay
I run high in my body
on the road toward sea.

I fall in love. The things
the wind is telling me.

The yellow sky quiet
in her quiet dress.

Old birds sending news
from the reddish hills.

& the one hawk flying
in the distance overhead.

That hawk is what
the wind says. In love

with the heaving
of my peacock chest,

with my lungs, two wings,
such flying things,

but mine for now, just for now
as I open my stride

above the good, dirt road,
fall in love with the mustard

& coriander dust,
& the far, far mountain

beveled by light, by rain,
the easy eye of the sun, now,

smoke floating across the hillside
like a face I knew once very well.

Very well, I fall in love
with the flowers & the wash

hung like prayer flags, see,
in red Juanita's yard. In love

with the earth the color of earth. In
love with the goats, their bellies & hooves,

& the goat mouths bleating
as they greet me on the road.

I fall in love. How they wear
their strange & double-eyes.

How they do not blink
or laugh at me

or say a thing I understand
when I ask them in my English,

because they circle around my feet,
as if they always knew me,

Were you my children once?
Did I know your names?

Oh, little magics?
Little children?

Aracelis Girmay, "St. Elizabeth" from Kingdom Animalia. Copyright © 2011 by Aracelis Girmay.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Source: Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2011)

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Poet Aracelis Girmay

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Nature, Animals, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Couplet

 Aracelis  Girmay


Born and raised in Santa Ana, California, poet Aracelis Girmay earned a BA at Connecticut College and an MFA from New York University. Her poems trace the connections of transformation and loss across cities and bodies.
In her 2011 online chat interview with the Rumpus Poetry Book Club, Girmay discussed innovative and hybrid poetric forms, stating, “I wonder what new explorations of form might have to do with documenting the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Nature, Animals, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Couplet

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